I suffered from a concussion during a gymnastic meet three years ago. I was hospitalized for three days. During my hospital stay, I noticed what I thought was a spider bite on my neck. The spider bite appeared red, swollen, and warm when I touched it. I asked a doctor for medicine to treat my bite. When I spoke with the doctor, he took my history and gave me a physical exam. The doctor told me that the spider bite may be MRSA and took a blood sample to help determine the presence of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) genetic material in my blood.
The lab performed a StaphSR assay to test for the presence of a MRSA infection. I received the results in around two hours. The doctor confirmed that I had MRSA, an infection I’ve never heard anything about before. The doctor drained the location of the skin infection. The doctor also gave me antibiotics (Vancocin) for ten days. The doctor explained to me that MRSA is resistant to many antibiotics, but there are a few that can cure MRSA infections. The doctor thought that I may have gotten MRSA from contact with patients in the hospital, but he couldn’t be sure. The doctor explained to me that the prognosis of MRSA depends on the severity of the infection when first diagnosed. The doctor told me that since the skin infection location was mild to moderate, I was expected to make a full recovery. The skin infection disappeared at around 7-8 days. I went back to the doctor to ensure the MRSA infection was gone and the doctor confirmed it through another blood test.
What is MRSA?
MRSA is a bacterial infection resistant to antibiotic methicillin. MRSA produces symptoms no different from any other type of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Symptoms in serious cases may include a fever. MRSA can cause urinary tract infections, pneumonia, toxic shock syndrome, and even death. Staphylococcus aureus, sometimes referred to simply as “staph,” or “staph A” is a common bacterium found on the skin of healthy people. If staph gets into the body it can cause a minor infection such as boils or pimples or serious infections such as pneumonia or blood infections.
One antibiotic commonly used to treat staph infections is methicillin. While methicillin is very effective in treating most staph infections, some staph bacteria have developed a resistance to methicillin and can no longer be killed by this antibiotic. The resistant bacteria are called methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus or MRSA.
How is MRSA spread?
MRSA can be present in the nose, on the skin, or in the blood or urine. MRSA can spread among other patients who are usually very ill with weakened immune systems that cannot fight off the infection. MRSA is usually spread through physical contact and not through the air. It is usually spread by direct contact (e.g., skin-to-skin).
Healthcare workers hands may also become contaminated by contact with patients, or indirect contact from surfaces in the workplace and medical devices that are contaminated with MRSA.